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Keratoconus and Scleral Contact Lenses

Our treatment of choice for patients with keratoconus is to be fit with scleral contact lenses. Scleral lenses have revolutionized the treatment of keratoconus as they tend to be provide superior vision correction, better comfort and are more stable.

What is a scleral contact lens?

A scleral contact lens is a large rigid lens that rests on the scleral overlapping and vaulting the cornea, the part of the eye that keratoconus affects. Scleral lenses are unlike any other contact lens on the market. Because of their size (14mm to 24mm), they rest on the sclera. The sclera has considerably fewer nerve endings than the cornea. Fewer nerve endings means less sensitivity which ultimately means a very comfortable contact lens! In fact, most patients will report that scleral lenses are the most comfortable contact lens they have ever worn even when compared to soft contact lenses.

Can anyone wear a scleral contact lens?

Yes, a scleral lens can correct a variety of vision problems.  However, they are most beneficial for patients who have:

  • Keratoconus
  • Pellucid Marginal Degeneration
  • Penetrating keratoplasty (corneal transplant)
  • Irregular LASIK outcome
  • RK (radial keratotomy)
  • Dry Eye Syndrome
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Corneal Scarring
  • Irregular Astigmatism
  • High Refractive Error
  • Other diseases, dystrophies or degenerations

This is because these patients have significant irregularities or distortion. Regular eyeglasses or contact lens simply will not correct the vision.  Between the scleral lens and the cornea, there is a fluid-filled reservoir. This reservoir fills in all the corneal irregularities and creates a perfectly rounded surface.  Because they vault the cornea and provide a fluid-filled reservoir, scleral lenses are also a treatment for severe dry eye disease and Sjorgren’s Syndrome.

What is involved in being fit with a scleral contact lens?

A scleral lens fitting begins with a comprehensive examination. We can evaluate and monitor the health and shape of your cornea with our diagnostic technology. You will then be fit with certain diagnostic lenses. You will not see perfect with these lenses, but they are used to choose the best design for you. These types of contact lens evaluations tend to take much longer than normal, usually 1-2 hours.

What do scleral contact lenses cost?  Does insurance cover scleral lenses? 

The comprehensive examination is $199 and the scleral contact lens evaluation is $500.  Scleral contact lenses range from $700-900 per lens.  Your medical insurance usually contributes toward the comprehensive examination but often does not cover the contact lens evaluation and scleral lens materials. However, sometimes vision plans have a special plans that cover medical necessary contact lenses and can cover a large portion of the cost.  In addition we offer a 90 day payment plan through Sunbit and longer no-interest payment plans are provided by Care Credit.

How do I find out more?

Call our office in Lakewood Ranch at 941-739-5959 or in Parrish at 941-304-2015 anytime.  If making an appointment for scleral lenses, please tell our patient care coordinators since we will want to reserve a special time slot for you since it is an extended appointment time.